In an effort to improve its standards of IT service management within the organization, the Apeejay Surrendra Group—a diversified industrial and services conglomerate—is now in the process of implementing ITIL across its seven business entities. The IT service management project was started in August 2009. "Currently, we have achieved almost 90% of the target, and the plan is to complete this project by April or early May 2010," informs Joy Bagish, the group's senior IT manager.
At the moment, Apeejay is going ahead with its implementation of ITIL version 2. According to Bagish, Wipro and TCS conducted a third party audit in August 2009 to understand the scope of ITIL implementation within the organization. The group now plans to do its second audit in the month of April 2010 to assess the project's progress.
Apeejay's ITIL project is being managed by Bagish's team of seven ITIL-certified technical experts. The implementation is taking place centrally across the organization. The IT, finance and human resources departments are common for the group. ITIL will cover all the corporate offices located at the four metros, along with Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar and Assam. Everest Infrastructure Management Solution, a tool from DMX Technologies, has been utilized to implement ITIL. The implementation partner is HSBsoft, a Bengaluru-based company and an authorized distributor of DMX. "The cost of this tool would be more than Rs 6 lakh, including the implementation and licensing charges," discloses Bagish.
ITIL certification benefits
"The third party audit helped us understand where we were lacking in IT service management. In a big organization, there's always the challenge of meeting users' expectations since there are very few technical persons to manage IT-related issues. Users expect prompt action from the IT team. With ITIL, we will set up a portal where people will log their calls on a priority basis. This will help in prioritizing the requirements within the organization," says Bagish.
One of the areas that ITIL will look at is problem management. Sometimes, while resolving an IT-related problem, engineers do not record it. As a result, if the same problem arises after three months, there is no reference source. With ITIL implementation, these aspects get recorded, and create a knowledge base for the technical experts. In future, before attending to a problem, the technical expert can go back to the knowledge base and look for known errors; this will help in finding quick solutions.
ITIL will help in keeping track of all the IT assets within Apeejay's different business entities, thus leading to transparency. In addition, ITIL will monitor software-related issues, and put controls on pirated installations. It will also provide a detailed report on the number of licenses and their usage.
Other key areas within the ITIL framework are capacity management and availability management. "For example, we have services from Reliance, Airtel, IBM, Microsoft and other vendors. Availability management will keep track of aspects like what the vendor had committed and downtimes. In capacity management, we can allocate resources as per the usage of the IT infrastructure. For instance, it will help in keeping me updated about how much a particular server is being utilized as compared to other servers. This can assist in better budget planning," explains Bagish.
ITIL also includes service level agreement (SLA management), which again keeps track of response times and deliverables promised in the contract. Incident management will help in fixing problems as quickly as possible. "ITIL will definitely provide prompt services and solutions to business users, which in turn will increase business uptime," comments Bagish. "We are expecting 10% to 20% increase in business uptime."
Any new implementation, especially an IT service management project, has to face apprehensions. "Earlier, people used to call a technical expert to solve a problem. But now the entire process has changed; a call has to be registered for any kind of problem. The process is taking time to blend with the organization. Making it popular with the users was a challenge for the IT team. It required lot of user interactions," says Bagish. To tackle this issue, the team made a presentation to the group of users and demonstrated the benefits that would accrue from better IT service management. "We did one-on-one interactions for users at higher positions," Bagish informs.
Apeejay plans to stick to ITIL v2 for at least a year. If the need arises, the IT team might also consider version 3 of ITIL.